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Exchange rates

Albert Lea...
13 posts
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Exchange rates

Can you receive as good a rate by using credit cards as you can with cash?

Edmonton, AB
Level Contributor
307 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: Exchange rates

Usually you get the best possible exchange rate using credit cards. Just be sure to check with your credit card company to ensure they don't charge you an extra fee for purchases made in a foreign currency. Most don't, but I've heard of some that do.

Moose Jaw, Canada
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302 posts
32 reviews
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2. Re: Exchange rates

Yes, use your CC. Visa and M/C will be very widely accepted, American Express, Diners Club, etc in some places but not all. Not all stores will exchange American cash for Canadian at the counter, most will, but not all -- any you will not get the best rate.

If you like you can also use your Debit card. Almost everywhere will accept it for payment and you should get a good exchange from your bank. Just let them know you are travelling out of the country so they don't flag your account.

Level Contributor
2,033 posts
140 reviews
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3. Re: Exchange rates


Note also that the Discover Card isn't nearly as popular in Canada.

Chuckle has it pretty much correct. Credit cards charge for foreign transactions. It's just that the fee can even be by a modification to the exchange rate. Still, it's a better deal than using cash. The conversion is done by your U.S. card, the store simply puts it through as Cdn dollars.

I could be wrong, but I don't think you can shop in Canada with your U.S. debit card. In Canada, you can't use a one card as both a debit card and a credit card. So if you have a card that says Visa or Mastercard, it's going to go through as a credit card purchase.

Canadian ATMs often have the Plus or Cirrus logo on them. The back of your bank card will indicate the same - if it can be used there. Again, your bank does the currency conversion. Just stick to recognized Canadian Bank machines: the flat fee, which must be displayed before you proceed with the transaction, will likely be lower.

Boston, MA
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12 posts
163 reviews
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4. Re: Exchange rates

If you take your USA bank debit card with a VISA/MC logo, you can still put it through as a credit transaction if the machine doesn't take it as a debit. For what it's worth, our debit card from Bank of America in the USA works in Quebec and Ontario. It did not work in Newfoundland though.

Also, check to see if your home bank has a relationship with a foreign bank group. Ours, again Bank of America, has the same parent company as Scotiabank all over Canada. We use our BofA ATM card all over Canada at Scotiabank and we pay no international ATM card fee (now $5 for BofA customers usually) and no local bank surcharges. There is a USD0.50 fee only for conversion done at our home bank side. Barclays does the same for us when we travel in the UK.

It made one good thing for us after all these mega-bank mergers.

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